Conversational Generative AI Search Startup Perplexity AI Raises $73.6M
Generative AI startup Perplexity AI has raised $73.6 million in a Series B funding round led by IVP. Perplexity is known for its ‘conversational answer engine,’ which was launched last year. The startup now boasts of having 10 million monthly active users and processing over half a billion queries in 2023.
Perplexity’s ChatGPT-style interface is augmented with links to sources in the footnotes. The AI is also designed to be good at remembering conversational context and can suggest related searches to help users refine the hunt for information. The search engine employs a mix of LLMs, including third-party and in-house models. The $20 per month Perplexity Pro plan lets users decide which model to employ. The current menu offers options like OpenAI’s GPT-4, Anthropic’s Claude 2.1, Mistral 7B, and Google’s new Gemini model.
“In an era where misinformation and AI hallucinations are causing increasing concern, we’re built on the idea that accuracy and transparency are prerequisites to making AI-powered search ubiquitous. The times of sifting through SEO spam, sponsored links, and multiple web pages will be replaced by a much more efficient way to consume and share information, propelling our society into a new era of accelerated learning and research,” Perplexity CEO Aravind Srinivas explained in a blog post. “It’s not just about our technology but also how people use it. We stand at the inflection point of a massive behavioral shift in how people access information online. I am excited about the potential for Perplexity to enhance our curiosity and intelligence by providing streamlined access to reliable information.”
Beyond the increasingly common generative AI search options, Perplexity is looking to make a mark with its own models capable of more powerful discovery and organization. It recently debuted two new LLMs with real-time access to the internet and information online. The pplx-7b-online and pplx-70b-online models are designed to stay current and limit hallucinations and are provided through an API to Pro subscribers.
The premium prescription also provides access to the new features and tools Perplexity has released since its $25.6 million funding round last March. The most notable expansion is Perplexity’s Copilot feature, which can personalize answers. When activated, Copilot can respond with clarifying questions, run multiple searches, and summarize the results for the user. It can also better understand questions and provide more accurate results. Perplexity also gave its browser extension and mobile apps the ability to answer questions with images.